The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 19

The Cadillac rumbled as Ray pulled up outside The Horseshoe. Reaching under the bar, Mavis brought out a strip of beef jerky and leaned over, holding it just out of sight.

When the front door swung open, Pete bounded across the floor and leapt up to the bar, ears back and eyes wide in anticipation.

“Hey, boy,” Mavis said.

Pete’s tail wagged wildly as Ray walked up to the bar, his eyelids droopy from a night of little sleep.

When Pete began barking, Mavis asked,

“What is it, buddy?”

Pete looked at her expectantly and barked again.

“Oh quit teasing him,” Ray grumbled.

“Here you go,” Mavis said holding out the beef jerky.

Pete quickly snapped it from her hand and dropped to the floor, holding the jerky down with his paws as he tore at it.

“What has you so twisted up?” Mavis asked Ray.

“Other than the fact that I was up late?” Ray asked.

Mavis paused then turned and grabbed the coffee pot and a fresh mug.

“Thanks. Just what I need,” Ray said as the steaming coffee filled his cup.

He took a couple of sips, inhaled deeply, then slowly let it out.

“All right. Now. Where is he?” Ray asked.

“He’s in the back asleep,” Mavis answered.

“Asleep?” Ray asked. “You knock him over the head with a hammer?”

“Nope. I just offered him a free drink that wasn’t drugged,” Mavis smirked.

“That’ll help,” Ray said. “I can use the silence. It’s going to be difficult working this thing out with him breathing down my shirt collar.”

“Neck,” Mavis corrected.

“If you say so,” Ray grumbled.

He took another sip of coffee as Mavis turned on the television over the bar. The Morning Show was on, and the two news anchors were just about to hand over the program to the meteorologist for the day’s weather forecast when one of them glanced off camera and came back with,

“This just in. A 1984 black GMC van has been pulled from Lake Marian this morning. It appears that multiple bodies were in the vehicle. Police are withholding the names of the victims, pending notification of the next of kin. More as this story develops.”

Mavis muted the television and turned to Ray,

“If they just now released the information, how did Tommy know about it two hours ago?” she asked.

Ray took another sip of coffee and said,

“It’s what he does.”

Mavis studied Ray’s face then finally asked,

“Okay, look. This has been gnawing at me. What exactly happened?”

“They found a van with dead people in it, and the news reported it,” Ray said sarcastically.

“No, Ray. I mean who’s the ax man? What has Tommy so stirred up?”

Ray finished off his coffee and slid the mug across to Mavis.

“Refill.”

“All right, spill,” Mavis said as she filled the mug.

“The coffee?” Ray asked.

“Funny guy. No, the story,” Mavis said rolling her eyes.

“All right then, no story.” Ray replied.

“I will smack you.” Mavis grinned.

Ray took a sip of fresh coffee then said, “You woke me up; this is your penance.”

Pete hopped back up onto the stool and looked at Mavis excitedly.

“No more,” Ray said gruffly.

Pete’s ears dropped as he worked his best sad and hungry look.

“This started thirty years ago. I was working as a cab driver when a story came on the news about Christopher Stuart, a garbage collector who returned home to find his wife in bed with the neighbor’s husband. Stuart didn’t flip out. He didn’t yell. He just strolled out to the garage, retrieved his pistol and axe, and shot his wife and her lover. Then he dismembered their bodies, bagged them, left the house and walked next door to the guy’s wife and children. He tied up the kids, shot the wife, cut her up and stuffed her in a plastic bag. After that, he went to the other neighbors, with whom they were good friends, and shot and axed them as well.”

Mavis covered her mouth in shock.

“Wow,” she whispered.

“Yea. When the cops showed up, Stuart was sitting outside in a lawn chair with the pistol and axe in his lap and six full garbage bags in a neat little circle around him,” Ray continued.

“Six?” Mavis asked.

“Some poor guy had the bad luck to be visiting at the friends’ house.”

Mavis stared in stunned silence as Ray took another sip of coffee.

“Who called the police?” she asked.

“Stuart did,” Ray answered.

“He turned himself in?” Mavis asked.

“Yes he did,” Ray said. “He handed over the pistol and axe and waited to be taken in. All he said was, ‘I feel better now.’ He pled guilty to six counts of murder, and they sent him to prison where he waited on death row.”

“And was executed,” Mavis finished.

“Nope,” Ray said. “Sixteen months after his conviction, he escaped in a prison fire, and a month later, contact and information professionals like Tommy started disappearing.”

“Disappearing?” Mavis asked.

“We weren’t sure until now. At the time, the police figured they were just hightailing it out of town. Tommy was a friend of mine, and when he heard what was happening, he knew that he was in trouble. He asked for my help, but I refused, that is until Margaret convinced me otherwise. Back then I had some close calls with the ax man. He’d started wearing a mask, but I managed to keep Tommy safe. In the end, the ax man left, and nobody heard anything more about him after that,” Ray said.

“That’s why Tommy’s so upset?” Mavis asked.

“Yep. He’s convinced that the bodies they found in this van will be identified as the men who went missing back then, and the case will be reopened. That will more than likely summon back the ax man to finish what he started thirty years ago.”

“What are you going to do?” Mavis asked.

“I’ve got to find him and stop him this time,” Ray said. “Put an end to this.”

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Published in: on August 6, 2011 at 7:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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